Top jockey Damien Oliver bounced back from a horrific fall at Moonee Valley last night to produce a gem of a ride to take out the Listed $125,000 Roy Higgins Quality on Drunken Sailor at Flemington today.
Oliver crawled out of his hospital bed in the early hours of his morning to prepare himself for Flemington after taking very heavy tumble when Like An Eagle collapsed in the straight and subsequently passed a fitness before the first race today.
With the blinkers off, Oliver was able to settle Drunken Sailor midfield travelling one off the fence and gave the topweight a sweet run until the 800m when he started to make his move.
Luke Nolen on Our Serena quickened the pace coming to the home turn and after Oliver initially went to the outside he quickly changed his mind and angled Drunken Sailor back to the fence.
“They really dawdled early and started to pick up from the half mile. Most of us got off the bit coming to the turn and I didn’t feel with the weight I was going well enough to come around them so elected just to come back in and follow through,” Oliver said.
“It really helped and he started to travel better and he got to the lead comfortably. He was feeling the weight a little at the end and the lightweight come back at him but he did enough to hold them off.”
Drunken Sailor under the 60kg sneaked to a comfortable lead at the 100m but relaxed close to line allowing Our Serena to get within a short neck at the finish.
Trainer Mike Moroney now plans to take Drunken Sailor over to Adelaide for the Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Casino Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville on March 12.
Moroney was very happy that Oliver was able to ride today and produce a top class ride to get the $3.70 favourite home over Our Serena who was taking ground off the imported gelding.
“I watched it on TV and I didn’t think Ollie would be here but it goes to show how fit and tough he is,” Moroney said.
Moroney took the blinkers off Drunken Sailor with the plan to get the seven year old to settle but he did switch off a couple of times during the race and a decision about the blinkers will be made later in the week.
“The problem was he was switching on too much and we’ve got two miles to go in the Adelaide Cup and I’ll have a talk to Ollie about it and we will see if we leave them off or put them back on.”